Motorcycle Magazine Road Test Truths

August 31, 2015

The truth can now be told. One-time motorcycle testing journalist, Derek Pickard, reveals the real meaning behind those bland test reports from the 1970s and 1980s...

'This European motorcycle maker launched its new model in a cultured European way.'

  • Should read: They shipped the media to a licensed pizza place for a great party.

    '...and this new model carries on the thoroughbred European tradition.'

  • Should read: This was the third year we all got taken to the same place for a great piss-up.

    'A truly individualistic background without bowing to fashion trends.'

  • Should read: This model is the latest in a long line of failures.

    '...incorporates many proven features.'

  • Should read: The maker has wrapped the new sidepanel around all the old junk mechanicals.

    '...destined to become a classic.'

  • Should read: The finance companies won't lend a penny on these 'cos secondhand prices will hit rock bottom in 18 months.

    'Buy this bike and your neighbours will take notice.' ...

    '...definitely an investment.'

  • Should read: They're giving me one to pay for the great write-ups and I have to sell it for the best price I can get so I'm building the price to ensure I can buy something decent.

    'This latest model boasts strategic performance enhancements.'

  • Should read: The only change we could find is the new speedo which now has close ratio numbers, balanced needle and overhead glass.

    '...Triumph's new engine in the form of a vertical twin is a revolutionary layout.'

  • Should read: I'm a 20 year old kid whose been testing for three months. I believe the Japs invented motorcycles in 1964 and Homer Simpson is frontman for the nuclear industry.

    'Starting requires a definite technique.'

  • Should read: I couldn't start it, none of my mates could either, so we towed it behind a truck.

    'A characteristic throb from this unique engine layout.'

  • Should read: It was okay at tickover, but began to shake at 2000rpm, developed a bad case of the vibes between 2500 to 3500, the hammers of hell were let lose over 4000, and when we attempted to get it near the red line the engine tried to leap out from the frame.

    'Acceleration was conservative.'

  • Should read: This damn thing was so slow off the mark we couldn't measure the acceleration times with a stop watch. So we used a sun dial.

    'But overall performance is adequate.'

  • Should read: A good pair of Reeboks is faster.

    'Handling is as good as it gets for fast road use.'...

    'The anti-theft locking features what the maker calls Vehicle Concept Security.'

  • Should read: Even the most desperate thieves avoid this model.

    'And this bike boasts an excellent recovery rate if stolen.'

  • Should read: No one's stupid enough to keep this junk.

    'Even after a long hard run there was only a slight mist of oil on external parts.

  • Should read: Which idiot positioned the breather tube out the side? The damn thing dumped 'orrible black stuff all over my left boot.

    'The inclusion in the price of a branded mountain bike in matching colours is a bold marketing thrust.'

  • Should read: As the RAC has stopped attending 'won't start' calls from this unreliable heap of junk, owners frequently resort to peddling.

    'Limited numbers will be released locally and the maker expects most will be exported to a central Asian target market.'

  • Should read: I don't like it, no one in the office liked it, the guy at the filling station thought it looked crap and the new three engine cylinder engine is a joke. Where is Kazakstan anyway?

    'Those were the days when an unreliable tickover spoilt an otherwise good engine.'

  • Should read: Amal was to British motorcycles what Jack the Ripper was to the women's movement.

    '...unusual materials science by this new maker in the emerging Asian nation.'

  • Should read: Inside the large diameter frame tubing lurks reinforcement made of bamboo.

    'This base model is designed to compete in the price-conscious postal fleet market.'

  • Should read: a pile of shyte.

    'Buy this bike and your neighbours will take notice.'

  • Should read: They'll know they're living next door to an idiot.

    'The new pattern tyres allowed a light amount of slip.'

  • Should read: Even on dry roads this bike had the grip of a dog on lino.

    'The lateral suspension design is a concept that ensures the moment of polar inertia is transitioned to minimise angular singularity.'

  • Explanation: I copied this from an American magazine and my editor thought it sounded great.

    'The many well designed compartments are delightfully spacious which reflect the genius of the overall design.'...

    'This is a fantastic bike because it incorporates four small luggage compartments.'

  • Should read: Aren't I a clever journalist, I can count to four.

    'The many well designed compartments are delightfully spacious which reflect the genius of the overall design.'

  • Should read: The maker left a £500 bribe in one of the compartments.

    'This new benchmark in design might go forward for our Bike of the Year short list.'

  • Should read: My sister needs to borrow a motorcycle for six months and I'll be putting the hard word on this company next week.

    'High speed handling is predictable'

  • Should read: Just like low speed, the steering is left for left and right for right.

    'Handling is not suited to all riders.'

  • Should read: During the official media test, the guy from the local paper lost control after the long lunch and wrote off his test bike.

    'The sumptuous new seat is disarmingly comfortable.'

  • Should read: That guy from the paper is blaming a sleep-inducing seat.

    'Handling is as good as it gets for fast road use.'

  • Should read: The maker organised a track day as part of the release and three of the eight bikes shot off the sweeper into the gravel.

    'Some of the revolutionary safety features need fine-tuning.'

  • Should read: When I crashed my test bike the stupid new air bag broke my glasses.

    'The maker is one of the most trusted of builders.'

  • Should read: They didn't make me fill in an accident report form.

    'This new Honda will be made in the company's new Edinburgh factory.'

  • Explanation: Whoops my goof 'cos I've been testing bikes for only a fortnight. Another stuff-up and the boss says I'm back writing the Letters To The Editor page.


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